This post was written by Andy Waters. You can find Andy on Twitter @peorbust.
I have been working with Google Apps For Education (GAFE) for about a year now. I started years ago with my own personal Google account, but in 2011 the network manager at my school applied to Google for our school domain to be registered as a google domain. He had to prove that that we were a school as we were outside the US and didn’t teach K-12. Once Google was satisfied they gave us 2000 google accounts linked to our school domain. The network team links individual accounts with one of the google accounts and the student can then sign into any google site using their school email account and this is when the fun really started!
My first project with GAFE was to design a PE Home Study Website for our younger students (KS3). We had decided as a department to teach the GCSE theory content in our KS3 lessons and we needed a way to set and mark the home study. After a brief introduction I set to work to build the website linked below. Setting up a Google Site could not be easier, with hundreds of templates that are all fully customisable. After setting up the site I embedded a series of google forms that I had created, that acted as the home study. As you can see the students can click on the appropriate home study and complete the form based on the GCSE theory content that had been taught in that block of work. The site also included a literacy area with words that were specific to the theory content being covered so that the students got used to using them in their answers. Other areas in the site included a student poll, from which we could ask their opinion on any subject. We used this to get feedback on the curriculum at the end of the year, to gauge the students opinion on the extra curricular offering and to get her their thoughts on the current PE kit. It was a really useful aspect of the site. The final area of the site that we used was the resource links. In this part of the site we added all of the links we thought might be useful to the students. Students do not have to sign in to google to access this site which means it is open to the whole wide world! Once we have rolled out the google accounts across the school though I will restrict access to people from our school only. Feel free to complete a home study to get a feel for it!
The site was a massive success with the students. They knew exactly what the home study was, when it was due in and how they could give us feedback. As a teacher, I had a go to resource for students that could not participate practically and I knew that every single student would have exactly the same theoretical knowledge when they left the key stage.
Students are now entering Key Stage 4 with a good grounding of the theoretical content needed at GCSE level and even the students that do not go on to study a PE examination subject at KS4 still benefit from the knowledge. I also found that using this site allowed the less practically able student to succeed in Physical Education, an experience they might not have had before.
The pupils responses are all put into a spreadsheet that can then be downloaded from your google drive. I then shared these files with the rest of the department so that we could all mark our individual groups.
On a couple of the google forms I inserted a script call “Flubaroo“. This is basically a self marking script for short or specific answers. It worked really well for the heart rate home study and gave us a mark for the students work. You have to be really specific with the answers and the spelling has to be exact, but with numbers it worked really well.
In the future I would love to add video and pictures to the google forms and get a really interactive feel to the home study.
Following on from the success of the home study site I wanted to make a site for my GCSE PE group. I have not had the time to fully construct the site yet but the following ideas will eventually be part of it.
It will be a site that will contain everything that a student will need to complete their 2 year studies in PE. There will be links to all of the various governing bodies and coaching websites, an area dedicated to home study and theory tests and an area for the completion of the coursework content of the specification (PEP). It was this last area that I have given most thought. For analysis of movement I have embedded video into a google form that then allows the students to watch the video of a top athlete performing a basic skill and then gets them to answer questions based on it. I have even used this set up with my A Level PE group, embedding a video on the sliding filament theory with questions below to gauge their understanding.
For their final PEP I have also got the students to complete it using a google doc and to share this with me. I now have live copies of all of the coursework from the entire group. I can go onto a document at any time and see what progress they are making, make sure they have completed each section and even make comments to which they can respond in real time, if they are working on the document. I have also started to use voice comments which I find is a much better way to communicate with the students. This is a really easy thing to set up and will allow the students to correct any mistakes whilst listening to your comments.
There are a lot of scripts available for google docs my favourite ones at the moment include; AutoCrat and Doctopus. I am also currently looking at gClassfolders for when the whole school moves to google accounts.
I hope you have found this useful and I look forward to any comments you might have!